Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday announced massive organisational changes, splitting the existing 22 district units into 35 organisational districts. It also announced changes in leadership at the state and district level in order to increase micro-level focus on organisational affairs as they prepare to challenge Narendra Modi’s BJP government ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The party said that the appointments were being made in line with the ‘one person one post’ policy adopted by the party recently. The district units were being divided “for the purpose of focussed and efficient organisational functioning,” the party said.
These organisational changes were announced in Kolkata on a day Congress leader Sushmita Dev resigned from her party in the morning and joined the TMC in New Delhi a few hours later. The daughter of former Congress heavyweight Santosh Mohan Dev, Sushmita, a former Congress MP from Assam, was welcomed to the new party by the TMC’s all-India general secretary, Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
The splitting of district units is a step that the BJP had taken about four years ago. While the state has 23 administrative districts, the BJP in Bengal had 39 organisational districts, bringing the district units sizes similar to that of a Lok Sabha seat. The state has 42 Lok Sabha seats. For examples, the administrative district of Hooghly is covered in the BJP by three organisational districts – Hooghly, Serampore and Arambag – conforming mostly to the Lok Sabha seats.
The TMC had so long maintained organisational districts as per the administrative districts, except for the tiny and new district of Kalimpong for which the party had no separate district unit.
After the new reorganisation of district units, the large district of North 24-Parganas has been divided into four, while each of Murshidabad, South 24-Parganas, Nadia, Howrah, Hooghly, Kolkata, East Midnapore, West Midnapore and Bankura have been divided into two.
Eight new general secretaries and two vice-presidents have been appointed. In north Bengal, all eight districts have now a new leadership, while unit presidents of most of the south Bengal districts were also changed.
With these changes, Lok Sabha MPs like Mohua Maitra and Mausam Noor have been dropped from organisational responsibilities, so have been heavyweight ministers Firhad Hakim and Aroop Biswas.
The party said that changes will be brought in block-level units as well and these can be expected to be announced in the next couple of weeks.
In 2014, the TMC had won 34 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats but the party faced a massive setback in 2019 when their rally came down to 22. Now, going by the trends of the last Assembly elections, the TMC is leading over the BJP in 33 Lok Sabha seats.
Besides aiming to increase the party’s Lok Sabha tally beyond their 2014 performance, the TMC is now also looking to expand in the neighbouring northeastern states of Assam and Tripura.